Digital Collections -> Pathfinders -> Many Roads to Freedom -> Henry L. Achilles


Portrait of Henry L. Achilles, ca. 1875,
 from Achilles Genealogies 1596-1990: Henry the "Hessian" Soldier of New Hampshire and Fifteen other Achilles Families of North America by Walter Burges Smith II. Maine: Penobscot Press, c.1991.

About Henry Achilles

Captain Henry Louis Achilles was born on May 3, 1833, in Rochester, New York. He was the son of Henry L. Achilles Sr. and his second wife, Samantha. He grew up in Albion, Orleans County, N.Y., and married Susan Elizabeth Bowen in 1855. Together they had three children. He graduated from the University of Rochester with the class of 1857.

In April of 1861 he organized Company K of the 27th New York Infantry Regiment. He and the rest of his volunteers marched from Albion to Elmira, New York. In May the company was mustered in. In July they arrived in Washington, D.C., and soon after fought at the first Battle of Bull Run. Captain Achilles and his unit were also at Antietam and Fredericksburg.

In the summer of 1862, Captain Achilles was released from the army because of illness. He returned to Rochester. In 1864, he became a New York State Election agent and distributed absentee ballots to hospitalized New York soldiers in the Washington area. After the war Captain Achilles began a plow manufacturing company on Platt Street. He also served as the Sunday School superintendent at the Second Baptist Church of Rochester for 21 years. He was actively involved in veterans' affairs. He and other Civil War veterans founded the Rochester Cadets (later renamed Achilles Corps) in 1897, and Captain Achilles was its first commander.

Advertisement for Henry L. Achilles plow manufactory, from the 1872 Rochester City Directory [pdf, 35 MB}

In 1889, the family moved to Tacoma, Washington, where he went into business. While there he and his wife became active in the Washington Soldiers' Home (for disabled volunteer soldiers) of Orting, Washington. Captain Achilles became the commandant and his wife became matron of the home. From 1898 to 1901, he and his wife lived in Hilo, Hawaii, where one of his sons lived. They moved back to Rochester in 1901.

Henry L. Achilles died on April 26, 1903 and is buried in the family plot at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Grave of Henry L. Achilles at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y.

Read About the 27th Regiment

The Henry L. Achilles Papers Collection

References used:

The Union Army: a History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States, 1861-65 -- Records of the Regiments in the Union Army -- Cyclopedia of Battles -- Memoirs of Commanders and Soldiers. Madison, WI: Federal Pub. Co.,1908. Volume II.

Achilles Genealogies 1596-1990. Henry the "Hessian" Soldier of New Hampshire and Fifteen Other Achilles Families of North America, by Walter Burges Smith II. Maine: Penobscot Press, 1991.

Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 1895. United States Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1896.